Nigerian prophet T B Joshua’s Synagogue Church of all Nations (Scoan) did not have approval to build on to the guesthouse that collapsed and killed 116 people in September, an inquest heard on Thursday.
Town planner and consultant to Joshua, Bisi Adedire, yesterday said he told the church they contravened the law by going ahead with the construction without approval.
“I told the church they have contravened the law in a way by building without approval but they said they could regularise it,” he told the inquest.
But Adedire also said having approval does not guarantee the quality of the building, and the collapse of the guesthouse cannot be blamed on the church’s failure to follow protocol.
Preliminary investigations revealed structural defects caused the collapse, and officials have said other buildings at the Scoan compound were also sloppily built.
But Joshua has maintained the collapse was due to sabotage. He claims a low-flying aircraft seen moments before the building collapsed was to blame.
Eighty-one South Africans were killed when the building fell. Their remains were repatriated in November, two months after the tragic incident occurred. Twenty-six South Africans were injured in the event.